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The Dingle Garden in May

We planned our fifth visit to the Dingle Gardens near Welshpool for the 23rd May and intended to go whatever the weather. Our April visit was on a day more typical of November than April so the photos I took were rather unusual for a garden in spring.

However for our May visit the sun shone, the sky was clear blue and the warmth allowed us to have a very leisurely stroll around the garden. We had so far this year seen little change from month to month as spring was on hold but this May visit was a strong contrast. We found the garden rich in flowering shrubs and strong fresh growth everywhere.

My first set of pics show paths we followed and the views from them.


A real surprise was the explosion of colour provided by the Rhododendrons whose buds we have featured over the first few months of the year. The brightest of reds, oranges, pinks plus cerise hues and shades of white sat together sometimes in harmony but often clashing!

Contrasting and strong coloured foliage provides as much interest as flowers at this time of year as all deciduous foliage is fresh and lively.


Ferns are an exciting element in the woodland or shade garden in May as fresh fronds unfurl and open to reveal strongly textured and patterned foliage.


I shall finish this visit report for our May wanderings around the Dingle Garden with a few general shots taken near the lake at the bottom of the sloping garden, showing the variation in foliage apparent in the trees and shrubs. We can now look forward to what June at the Dingle will have to offer.


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The Dingle Garden in April

We made our April visit to this year’s chosen garden for monthly visits expecting to enjoy all the freshness of early spring. How wrong could we be! The day dawned cold and misty and as we walked around the gravel paths we got more damp with each step as we were walking in a gentle mist. We felt as if we were wandering around the garden on a typical November day definitely not an April day.

Mist hung among the trees and rain droplets hung from buds and branches.

We expected to be able to enjoy early flowering shrubs like rhododendrons and azaleas, but there were just a few as the seasons are still lagging behind. A beautiful bright yellow flowered Berberis really brightened the gloom and an orange flowered variety glowed through the shrubs like beacons. Both of these Berberis added a little welcome scent to the walk.


Some Rhododendrons were flowering well while others still showed tight buds. At this time of year every little flower on the shrubs is so powerful.


We made our way down towards the lake enjoying the misty views out across the water. When we arrived at the bankside we walked the perimeter and all the way we could see the glow of the yellow-flowered Skunk Cabbage growing on the water’s edge.


As we wandered back along the gravel paths we spotted odd flowering perennials and bulbs giving patches of colour in the shade of the shrubs.


We were once again surprised by the lack of changes on this month’s visit, but as with anything to do with Mother Nature there was plenty for us to look at and consider. Perhaps on our next visit, which will be in May, we will experience the presence of spring.

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A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park April – Part 2

In this, the second part of April’s  report of our wanderings around Attingham Park, I want to feature the flowers of the park , the wildflowers living in the woodland and the cultivated flowers in the borders and walled garden. I will also share pics of the fresh growth of the bursting buds on the trees and shrubs.

Most new leaves that had burst from buds on trees were the brightest of green imaginable.


Some buds had opened to reveal more colours than simply green, they glowed with hints of bronze, browns and purples.


Fresh growth on evergreen trees and shrubs were also bright green, on both conifers and broadleaves.

Beneath the trees and shrubs ferns revealed their leaves in such a beautiful way, unfurling from a tight spiral like slowly unwinding springs. As their shapes change so do the textures.


We found so many plants flowering on our April wanders that the best way to share them with you and illustrate the huge variety so early in the year is by presenting my photographs as a gallery. Please enjoy by clicking on the first photo then navigate by clicking the right arrow.

We will return in May when summer will be in full swing!







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The Dorothy Clive Garden

I promised at the end of my post about the wild colours at Dorothy Clive to take a wander with my camera to show the milder coloured side of this lovely garden in late spring. We usually visit this garden in the late summer or early autumn when the mixed borders simply zing! The oranges of Leonotis and Leonorus and the reds of Crocosmia “Lucifer” work in wondefully to give a burst of fiery colours. Annuals mix with perennials and the odd shrub in long sweeping borders. When we had the invitaton to visit in early May we jumped at it, hoping to see a side to the gardens we had not seen before. We turned left by the cottage into the dell full of the outrageous colours of the Rhododendrons and Azaleas as featured in my previous post.

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But there was more here than just bright colours, and we soon discovered a rich selection of woodland plants.

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As in many gardens over the last few years the gardeners have realised the beauty that lies beneath the floral displays of the Rhododendrons – the sculptural form of their trunks and branches. Clever pruning techniques brings the beauty of their form to the fore.

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Leaving the dell we wandered the winding paths towards the Laburnum Walk which we were expecting to be in its most glamorous clothes. We found more woodland favourites and more flowering shrubs and small trees. We enjoyed the purity of the white flowered Magnolias.

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Lovely vistas opened up as we left the more densely planted areas under the mature trees. the mixed borders here had a very gentle feel to them.

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The Laburnum Walk was not in flower as much as we had expected but the sun came out after a storm giving added freshness to the light and we enjoyed walking slowly through the tunnel of Laburnums.

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Golden Hop climbed among the Laburnums and gentle coloured perennials sat at their feet.

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The newest area at Dorothy Clive is the Edible Woodland and this has developed nicely since our last visit.

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We managed to quickly walk part of the sloping gardens before the rain came in ferociously and drove us to an early finish to our visit. Hopefully the few photos I managed to take as the rain approached will give some idea of how delightfully planted this part of the garden is.

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I am not a great conifer fan but the colours of these cones against the glaucous needles looked amazing. I am beginning to enjoy Pines now and appreciate them far more. I am sure we shall be visiting the Dorothy Clive Gardens again before long and then perhaps we can concentrate more on this gently sloping section.

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Wild Colours at the Dorothy Clive Garden

We visited the Dorothy Clive Garden recently with a few fellow Hardy Plant members. This garden is famous for its spring planting in the section called The Dingle – Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the wildest colour combination possible. These aren’t our favourite shrubs but we do enjoy going to this garden to see them once in a while.

Just look at these pics! From the moment we arrived at the cottage the borders on either side of the doorway were alive with colour.

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I know I said we are not the biggest fans of these flowers but Jude the Undergardener was impressed with this one. She was impressed by the gentle colours and contrasting spots.

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I however was taken with this bright orange beauty! Certainly nothing subtle here – I simply love orange in the garden and this flower and bud is so rich.

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In the next post I shall look at the rest of the garden where things are a little calmer and kinder to the eye.

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Walled Garden in April

The weather turned colder today, back to more normal temperatures for the time of year. Last week on some days we enjoyed 20 degrees celsius but it has dropped back to 9, and it felt cold. But we had planned to take a walk at Attingham Park, the weather failed to stop us. Walking through the woods towards the walled garden we were delighted to see splashes of colour from Primroses, Celandines, Rhodendrons and the first leaves of Horse Chestnut trees.

Occasionally a piece of sculpture surprised and entertained us. This piece hanging above us from the branches of a tree, enticed us to look up into its structure, where it captured our images in its circular mirrors. With me are son, Jamie and his girlfriend Sam.

The walled garden changes with the seasons but also as the gardeners and volunteers develop it. The big change which we were delighted to see as we passed through the gate into the protected growing area inside the walls – the pigs had returned.

Each time a new area of the old walled garden is due for re-development, pigs move in to prepare the planting areas. They clear the weeds, turn over the soil and add manure to improve soil structure and add some plant nutrients. Today the pigs we were mesmerised by were young Tamworths with their red bristles.

The veggie beds looked almost empty but the decorative borders were full of colour mostly from bulbs and wallflowers. A few veg had survived the winter and added their own colours. The stems of the chard contrast nicely with their leaves, making them most attractive plants.

In the very centre of the walled area is a large circular dipping pool, from where the old gardeners would collect water by dipping watering cans. Archaeologists have cleared it out and their explorations and excavations have left its beautiful brick interior for us to admire.

The beds lining the paths that lead from the dipping pool are lined with tulips, hyacinths and wallflowers to give colour and scent for visitors to enjoy.

The warming red brick walls that gave protection to the fruit and veg growing within them are lined with beautiful trained fruit trees. The espalliers are wonderfully trained and later in the spring blossom will clothe their limbs and in late summer and early autumn with fruit.

The garden enclosed in a wall inside the outer wall produces fruit and cut flowers and is home to renovated glasshouses and coldframes.

A border outside the gardeners’ bothy  was bursting with hot colours. Polyanthas and Wallflowers in reds, oranges and reds shared the space with an impressive clump of Fritillary “Crown Imperials”.

On the return walk we passed through an area of woodland where fallen limbs from the old trees had been used by children to make wonderful dens. Let’s have a wander around and enjoy a few. We enjoyed admiring the children’s handiwork and Jamie and Sam had to try one out for size. Knowing that I would blog about our day out they decided that if they sneaked into a photo they could get themselves into my next posting.